TRACK: Area teams gear up for districts
It is a new season and new venues for some area track teams.
The United boys and girls, East Palestine boys and South Range girls are moving up to Division II as district track meets open this week.
“It’s a district tournament and at a different site,” South Range coach Diane Krumpak said. “(The boys and girls) will miss being at the same meet and cheering for each other.”
The South Range girls and East Palestine boys are heading to Salem’s Reilly Stadium, while United’s teams are going to Lakeview High School.
“That didn’t make sense because before, when we were in Division II, we went to Salem,” United girls coach Nancy Miller said. “It’s not necessarily a bad move because there are areas there where it is not as difficult as Salem.”
United last competed in Division II in 2009. The Eagles may not even know where Lakeview is. It is not far from the Trumbull County Fairgrounds where the Eagles used to race in the cross country district meet.
“I’m almost positive they don’t,” Miller said. “They don’t worry too much about that. I’ll give them a bunch of statistics. It just won’t be against people we know.”
The top four finishers in each event at district advance to regional action next week. Then the top four finishers at the regional meet qualify for the state meet.
The 107th annual state track meet will be held June 6-7 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University.
United features two of the area’s top athletes in senior Allison Parks and junior Riley Fillman.
Parks is seeking her fourth state berth in the 1600-meter run. She placed fifth last year and joined junior Maggie Briceland on the fourth-place 3200 relay team.
“She is doing well in anything we put her,” Miller said about Parks, who swept the 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 runs at the Inter-Tri County League upper tier meet on Thursday.
Fillman reached state in three events last year, joining sophomore Alex Phillips and senior Mike Martin on the seventh-place 400 relay team while also participating in the long jump and 300 hurdles.
The Eagles will compete on Thursday and Saturday.
“The trip is going to be different than Springfield,” Miller said. “That is why we went to the Clipper. It will be different going Saturday morning.”
Lakeview hosted area teams in the Division III district meet before it moved to Springfield Local in 2006.
Salem will host the always-competitive Division II district meet on Thursday and Saturday.
The South Range girls have competed in the small-school division since being Class AA in the early 1980s.
“They’re really excited about this time of year,” Krumpak said. “The competition at Salem, we haven’t run against many of those teams except for West Branch. There will be a lot of new faces, which can be a good thing because there won’t be any expectations.”
There will be 14 boys and 12 girls teams at Reilly Stadium, including West Branch and host Salem. The last time the East Palestine boys were in the Salem district was 2007.
Action starts at 4:30 p.m. Thursday with the finals in the boys discus and long jump and girls shot put and high jump. The running preliminaries will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the finals in the 3200-meter relay.
The remaining field events will be contested at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by the running finals at 12:30 p.m.
Returning state qualifiers included West Branch senior Andrew Filp in the shot put, Salem senior Dan Rumsey in the boys 1600 relay, West Branch senior Dustin Greenawalt on the boys 3200 relay.West Branch sophomore Haley Davis in the girls 1600 run, and Davis and senior Erin Carver in the girls 1600 relay.
“It doesn’t matter what district you’re at,” Krumpak said. “You have to bring your ‘A’ game and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The district pole vault will be held at Austintown Fitch with the boys on Wednesday and the girls on Friday.
The regional qualifiers from Salem and Lakeview advance to Austintown Fitch this year after the regional moved from Bedford.
“We’re thrilled it’s at Austintown and we don’t have to get them out of school,” Krumpak said. “We’re excited it’s close to home.”
Also in Division II, Beaver Local, East Liverpool and Minerva are among 12 schools that will be at the district at West Holmes High School in Millersburg on Thursday and Saturday.
Minerva senior school-record holder Maddie Fisher returns after placing fourth in the girls discus at state last year. East Liverpool senior Zack English qualified for state in the long jump and 400 dash last year.
The top four in each event advance to regional at Muskingum College next week.
Defending state runner-up Shartece Taylor of Wellsville leads a group of area athletes into the Springfield Division III district meet.
There will be 22 boys and 20 girls team, including the South Range boys and East Palestine girls along with boys teams from Columbiana, Crestview, East Palestine girls, Heartland Christian, Leetonia, Lisbon, South Range boys, Southern Local, Springfield, Wellsville and Western Reserve.
The field events will start at 4 p.m.Wednesday with the boys discus and long jump and girl shot put and high jump. The running preliminaries will start at 4:45 p.m., along with the finals in the 3200 relay.
The meet concludes on Friday with the finals of the remaining field events at 4 p.m. and the running finals beginning at 5 p.m.
Top four finishers in each event advance to the Navarre regional.
Taylor – second in the 100 dash and seventh in the 200 dash at state last year – has been limiting her workload due to a hip injury suffered last season, but it hasn’t slowed her down. She won her fourth straight Columbiana County 100-meter dash earlier this month and ran a season-best 12.52 seconds in winning the Inter-Tri County League lower tier title on Wednesday.
Other returning state qualifiers include Columbiana junior Shayla Ray in the girls high jump, South Range senior Adam Meloy ran on the fifth-place boys 1600 relay team, and Meloy and senior Tanner Greene also were on the 800 relay team.